November 14, 2018

Putting Boys in a Cell on Wheels

One really creative initiative for keeping at risk boys out of jail was described in an article in the Milwaukee Neighborhood News (MNN). It's about a rolling jail cell on wheels! The mobile cell is part of the work of the Phenomenal Men’s Support Group (PMSG), a nonprofit dedicated to, ". . . helping youth make good decisions that lead to positive futures."


Johnson “Smithy” Chapman, a PMSG member, describes how they partnered with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department to create the “Cell on Wheels.” For the last six years, the group has taken their rolling jail cell to neighborhood events to show young people what it’s like to be incarcerated. They routinely visit community events including church gatherings, school events, and block parties.

Mr. Chapman said most of the PMSG members are men in their 50s. Like him, most are military veterans, and some have suffered negative life consequences, including incarceration because of substance abuse or drug dealing. After serving in Vietnam, Chapman himself struggled with PTSD and substance abuse, which led to a three-year jail sentence.

As the young people visit the rolling cell, the PMSG men are there telling them stories, encouraging them take their education seriously, and become contributing members of society. By creating Cell on Wheels, Mr. Chapman says he hopes to, ". . . shatter misconceptions and provide a clear picture of life in prison."



In this audio clip, Mr. Chapman describes what the PMSG men are doing:


To read the whole story about these men and their great idea, go to the full article in the Milwaukee Neighborhood News at this link.

"...use your life's experience
to create a better world..."

What a great way to make a point to vulnerable youngsters, and to use your life's experience to create a better world at the same time. The PMSG men are doing their part to reduce youth incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. I can't help but wonder what our communities would be like if all men showed up sharing their important life experience with our boys in some way.

I honor the good men of the truly Phenomenal Men’s Support Group. Thank you for stepping up. You are all truly phenomenal!



CONTACT EARL: Send Earl a message. I'm very interested in your thoughts on any man-making post or topic. I'm also available to help you bring man-making initiatives to your community or organization.

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© Copyright 2005-2018 Earl Hipp. All Rights Reserved.
Sharing with attribution allowed. All other use requires  permission.

November 7, 2018

Man-Making Stories from Around the World

Because I have been working and writing in this field for many years, I have the benefit of a unique perspective on the world of man-making. Many of you, the subscribers and readers of this blog, think of me when you come across a related story and you send them along. Thanks! Taken together, the ever-growing collection gives me this very positive feeling because it means men, all around the world, are showing up for boys in many different and creative ways. It's really a force for optimism in my life.

While I have shared many of these kinds of story ideas with you in the blog over the years, I get many more suggestions than I'm able to research and turn into blog posts. With this post I'm trying something new. Going forward, I'll be occasionally sharing a short list of what has been showing up in my inbox. This listing will be simple, unfiltered reporting, and I'll leave the vetting up to you.

Thanks again for your contributions and please keep them coming. Thanks even more for caring about all our young guys.

Here's a few stories to get started. I hope you enjoy these offerings as I do.



The OK Program in Little Rock, Arkansas is described in this article. It brings together black police officers and pastors to train black men in the community to become mentors to young boys. The program puts these mentors in schools on a regular basis. One of the goals of The O.K. Program described in the article is to provide adult male mentors who can, ". . . cultivate an environment at these schools to where these kids can understand the importance of learning, getting an education, and critical thinking." There is a great video with the story, and I really like the special "O.K." handshake.

". . . I love you, man."

There is a beautiful line from Little Rock police Sgt. Willie Davis, where describing how he tells these often fatherless boys, ". . . I love you, man. I'm not your dad, but I'm an advocate, so we're going to take care of you and make it right." More information on The O.K. Program website, a link from the City of Little Rock website!



Dads for a Day is a faith-based program founded by Curtis Ostrander about two years ago. Its goal is to help boys in middle and high school navigate their way through the teen years to adulthood. In this article in The Villages Daily Sun, it describes how the boys usually meet a few hours on a regular basis with their Dad for a Day mentors. Sometimes visits are longer and include fishing trips, shooting hoops, disc golf and dozens of other ways the men and boys can interact. Mr. Ostrander says, “We provide free, one-to-one mentoring programs for boys in homes without fathers . . ..” In his research Mr. Ostrander learned, ". . . in the United States, 33 percent of children live without their father in the home . . .". The article is rightly titled, "Changing the future one teen at a time."



This room smells
like a French whorehouse!

Chicago Times Article about Shaving offers this fun opinion piece in which a man reminisces and worries that our young men aren't learning about the art of shaving. I love this article because of the prominent Rite of Passage that comes with a young man's fist shave. Here's a previous Man-Making Blog post on the topic of a boy's first shave. It stirs some familiar memories when the author quotes his mom's saying, “This room smells like a French whorehouse!” He says, "I guess I knew what she meant. Too much Old Spice."



Future Kings is a story from the township of Soweto (Johannesburg), South Africa. There, a man named Rams Mabote, working through his foundation, aims to create a platform where young men in the impoverished Soweto townships can ". . . have hope again that all is not lost." Rams says, "We spoke about everything - from soccer to sin. What was interesting is that I thought I was mentoring these boys, but what happened is that these boys changed me."
"I was mentoring these boys,
but what happened is that
these boys changed me."

According to Rams, ". . . our boys need to hear stories that being poor was not the reason to fail, and that many people who are successful today have struggled in the past. Future Kings is all about is telling boys new narratives."



Let me know if you like this kid of post.
If so, there are a lot more of these stories to come!



CONTACT EARL: Send Earl a message. I'm very interested in your thoughts on any man-making post or topic. I'm also available to help you bring man-making initiatives to your community or organization.

FACEBOOK SHARE: If you enjoy this blog, please click the Facebook "Share" button below to support the Man-Making Facebook page! (The button is only on the MM Blog, and not in subscription posts delivered by email.)


TWEET: Send this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!

SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email a few times a month, use this link for a free subscription.

© Copyright 2005-2018 Earl Hipp. All Rights Reserved.
Sharing with attribution allowed. All other uses require permission.